Online grocer Peapod has bought cash strapped rival's Chicago and Washington operations for a "bargain basement price" of $12m. The purchase coincides with its decision to withdraw from Ohio and Texas and concentrate resources in Chicago and Baltimore in direct competition with rival Webvan. Peapod's parent Ahold doesn't have any stores in Chicago, but Streamline has a strong presence there. In the Washington Baltimore area Ahold subsidiary Giant Food can provide Peapod with groceries. Peapod chalked up losses in excess of $23m in the first half of 2000, narrowly escaping bankruptcy in April when Ahold bought a majority stake. {{NEWS }}